Wyoming Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report
From: USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM
WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- May 18 through May 22, 2009
Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .
Status of the NRM wolf delisting rule
The Final Rule to Establish a Gray Wolf – Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment and Remove it from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species became effective May 4, 2009. It was published in the Federal Register Vol 74, No. 62 pages 15123-15188on April 2, 2009. The rule, the literature cited, and Questions and Answers about it are posted on the USFWS website at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . The rule delists wolves in Montana, Idaho, eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and a small part of north central Utah. Wolves in Wyoming will remain under the adequate regulatory mechanisms of the ESA. The US Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to manage wolves in all of Wyoming under the provisions of the 1994 nonessential experimental population rules. Management under the ESA will continue until such time Wyoming develops a regulatory framework that the Service determines meets the purposes of the ESA. After that happens the Service may initiate the mandatory federal regulatory process [including public review and comment] to turn management over to Wyoming.
A radio collared wolf from the Yellowstone Delta Pack dispersed from the park some time in March 2009. The wolf had been captured and fitted with an Argos GPS collar this last winter. The young female wolf was recently located south of Lander, WY.
Yellowstone National Park
A wolf that had become habituated to people and chased bicyclists on more than one occasion was euthanized Tuesday morning by Yellowstone National Park staff along Fountain Flat Drive. The yearling male wolf from the Gibbon Meadow Pack was first sighted in the vicinity of Midway Geyser Basin in March 2009. In recent weeks, the wolf had been frequently observed in Biscuit Basin and the Old Faithful developed areas in close proximity to park visitors. The wolf had reportedly exhibited behaviors consistent with being conditioned to human food.
The park reports there have been several incidents of unnatural behavior, including chasing bicyclists on at least three occasions, and one report involving a motorcyclist. The park has also received reports of the wolf approaching people, as well as cars, which can best be described as panhandling--behavior consistent with a food conditioned animal. The wolf's repeat offenses clearly demonstrate a habituation to humans and human food, escalating the concern for human safety, according to the park.
Yellowstone staff made attempts at hazing the wolf from the area, only to have the wolf return and repeat this behavior. Hazing techniques are meant to negatively condition an animal and may include cracker shells, bean bag rounds or rubber bullets; all non-injurious deterrents.
The decision to remove the wolf from Yellowstone was made in consultation with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. This is the first time such a management action has occurred since wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995-1996. Yellowstone National Park removed this wolf from the population in accordance with the park's habituated wolf management plan.
"This wolf was clearly not behaving naturally, reducing our management options. Human safety is important, so the difficult decision to remove the animal was made. Approaching wildlife, such as wolves, too closely can have detrimental results. We encourage visitors to keep their distance from wildlife and to not feed them," wolf project leader Doug Smith said.
The park warns of conditioning of wildlife, in particular bears and wolves, to groceries, garbage or intentional feeding. This usually results in habituation, making them a potential danger to people and consequently may result in their destruction. Additionally, people who approach within 100 yards of bears and wolves, and 25 yards of other wildlife, put themselves at risk of injury and increase the potential for habituation of these animals, the part warns. Visitors are reminded to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants stored inside or otherwise unavailable to wildlife.
The removal of this wolf is not considered to have a detrimental impact to the overall health and population of wild, free roaming wolves in Yellowstone. The wolf population in Yellowstone National Park is currently estimated at 124 animals in 12 packs. Pups that were born this year have not been counted and are not part of this estimate.
Correction in the 2008 USFWS Annual Report
While writing an article for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, reporter Echo Renner discovered 2 mistakes in the Wyoming livestock depredation section of the 2008 USFWS Annual Report. We appreciate her thorough review and we make the following corrections.
“In 2008, wolves in WY were responsible for killing at least 67 livestock. Confirmed livestock depredations included 41 cattle (35 calves; 6 cows/yearlings) and 26 sheep. Thirteen additional probable sheep depredations and 3 injured cattle were reported.”
Correction: A total of 10 injured cattle were reported in 2008. In March 2008, the Delta Pack from Yellowstone National Park left the park and injured 6 cows and 1 bull in the East Fork of Rock Creek the South Fork of the Shoshone River drainage. These 7 injured cattle had not been included in the 2008 Annual Report.
“Ten of the 30 known packs in Wyoming were involved in at least 1 depredation in 2008.”
Of the 30 packs counted on December 31, 10 packs killed at least 1 livestock in 2008. Thirteen packs were involved in at least one depredation where wolves caused the death of the livestock, and 3 of these packs were eliminated. The Soda Lake Pack (4 wolves) was removed after killed livestock in spring of 2008. Two additional packs (Crandall and Gooseberry Packs) were also eliminated after killing cattle in 2008. In addition to the 13 packs that killed livestock in 2008, the Delta Pack injured 7 livestock. Four wolves from the Delta Pack were subsequently removed.
Humbolt State University graduate student Bonnie Trejo met with USFWS, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park (YNP) biologists to finalize her masters proposal to investigate summer predation by wolves near Jackson, WY and in YNP. Bonnie will compare summer food habits of wolves in the 2 study areas by using scat analysis and investigating prey remains at kill sites. Wolf scats have collected at den and rendezvous sites for the past 5 years. Summer kill sites were investigated using GPS technology to locate carcass remains of ungulates killed by wolves during summer.
Law Enforcement and Related Activities
Nothing to report at this time.
Outreach and Education
Nothing to report at this time.
To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves, please contact the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.